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Karl Barwick began attending a study programme at the ITS Doncaster office in 2016 and has made significant progress. He has completed a number of qualifications including Level 2 Maths, Level 2 English and Level 1 ICT. Karl will continue studying with us next year on his GCSEs and his next level of ICT.


ITS College



From September 2017 Karl is going to be studying GCSE qualifications in both Maths and English alongside a further ICT qualification.

Karl is nineteen years old and has a diagnosis of Asperger's. In addition he is a selective mute. Karl is a solitary individual and prefers to work independently. He often finds it difficult to join in with group activities and this can be a considerable barrier to his learning.

When Karl arrived at ITS initially he would not enter the training room, he refused to even go upstairs. Over time and with encouragement he took small steps. To begin with he would stay downstairs and complete work; gradually he began to venture upstairs and sit in the break out area, but did not go in the classroom. Eventually with support and encouragement he joined the group in the training room. Evidence suggested that he would feel comfortable near an exit, however Karl is at his happiest sat in a central position in the middle of the group.

Linked with Karl’s autism and mutism he has a diagnosis of PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance disorder), again this is a significant learning barrier as Karl has a dislike of fulfilling requests as well as refusal to respond well to direct questioning. This often results in Karl disengaging and refusing to complete tasks. Karl frequently responds with hand gestures, nods or written responses in place of verbal communication.

There have been a number of notable events relating to Karl’s communication during the last year. During one-to-one sessions and reviews there has been a marked improvement in his verbal interaction; during a revision session in May, Karl answered mathematical questions in front of his peers.

He now sometimes answers direct questioning with sentences and is much happier to speak about his personal life. During a session’s morning break the trainer informed Karl it was their birthday - "Karl it’s my birthday today what have you got me?” to which he replied, “How about a heartfelt birthday wish from me?”.  Whilst appreciating that this is a short response, it is so far from where he was twelve months ago.

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